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Homefront Help

February 15, 2008
SIGNAL Staff

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between.

In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization’s Web site, when available.

Veteran to Veteran
Veteran to Veteran was founded to prevent veterans’ needs from falling through the cracks. The organization was founded to help former service members without reinventing the wheel, so it built itself as a hub with spokes that reach out to available resources. By creating alliances with numerous service groups, Veteran to Veteran serves as a one-stop shop for those who served and their families to receive all the benefits and assistance available to them. The veteran service organization has nationwide outreach and can assist and facilitate the acquisition of services and benefits from numerous other agencies.

The nonprofit organization offers all its services at no cost. It does the legwork for its clients and provides a single point of contact for each veteran, no matter how many outside agencies may be providing assistance. Veteran to Veteran offers help in areas including veterans service officer representation, veterans services and claims, state veterans benefits, county veterans programs, woman veterans programs, referral services and peer-to-peer support. Veterans and their families can anonymously take advantage of any services offered.

The organization’s peer support service pairs veterans or spouses with others who have similar experiences and can help ease upcoming transitions and life changes. The support program addresses feelings of isolation and stigmas veterans and their families may feel.

Veteran to Veteran has a walk-in center in Sterling Heights, Michigan, open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The complete address and telephone number are available online. Organizations interested in working with Veteran to Veteran or anyone who wants to make a donation also can find contact information on the Web site.


Victory Boxes
Victory Boxes offers citizens a convenient way to send packages to the troops, but with unusual results. Instead of sending deployed warfighters items for their own use, Victory Boxes are filled with goods for service members to distribute to Iraqis and Afghanis that will help boost their economies, clothe people and educate children. The boxes are distributed by select soldiers who work with the citizenry of those countries.

Victory Boxes can be picked up already packed and ready for shipping from select locations in Texas, Florida, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. People in other locations who want to send boxes can request the necessary mailing labels and Victory Box number for use on a flat rate U.S. Postal Service box. The organization also accepts donations and has contact information for troops who would like to distribute the materials.

The Web site includes precise instructions about how to participate and provides a list of permitted and prohibited items. In addition, online visitors can see photos, read through questions and answers, learn about the organization’s history and read articles and a blog.


Gold Star Siblings

Gold Star Siblings offers the opportunity for anyone who has lost a brother or sister in any war to come together, share, grieve and find comfort. The organization offers senior and junior memberships based on age. The Web site includes a Fallen Heroes page where pictures of troops who died in service to their country can be posted along with the names of the siblings who mourn their loss. Gold Star Siblings is actively seeking donations and sponsors to keep its mission alive. Individuals or corporations interested in contributing funds can e-mail goldstarsiblings@gmail.com.

 

The SIGNAL Connections staff encourages readers to take advantage of the programs mentioned in this column and to pass along the information. In addition, if you know of a program that is helping service personnel, please let us know about it. Submit that information to SIGNAL’s news editor.

The SIGNAL Connections staff has made every effort to verify the legitimacy of these programs and to include information accurate at the time of publication. Inclusion in this column does not constitute an endorsement by AFCEA International or SIGNAL Connections.